The History of Floating
Invented in the mid 1950's by neuro-scientist Dr. John Lilly, floatation therapy tanks were originally named "sensory deprivation tanks," and sometimes "isolation tanks." Over the years the name was changed to float tanks or floatation therapy tanks. Although floating was invented in the United States, it has grown quickly over the past two decades in Europe. You can now easily float around the world.
Floatation therapy is based on a scientific approach to deep relaxation called Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique or R.E.S.T. for short. The idea was developed in 1954 at NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) in Washington. Floating in a floatation tank triggers a deep relaxation response, much deeper than normal sleep. It enables us to drift into the elusive Theta state, which is hard to achieve.
Floatation REST has many physical and mental benefits because it provides an unparalleled level of relaxation. With the elimination of external stimuli, the central nervous system's workload is reduced by as much as 90%. This reduction draws a person's energy inward and promotes relaxation--also known as the parasympathetic response. The parasympathetic response is the mechanism by which the body naturally regenerates itself and maintains chemical and metabolic balance. Old wounds and injuries are allowed to heal faster. Increased T-cell production strengthens the immune system. This deep level of relaxation also benefits the cardiovascular system. Known as the vasodilatory effect, the body's circulation is increased while the blood pressure and heart rate are reduced. Furthermore, the elimination of gravity on the body allows muscles and joints to release tension and heal more rapidly. For this reason, people suffering from musculoskeletal and rheumatic conditions greatly benefit from Floatation REST.
The "Brain Wave Explanation" by Michael Hutchison best describes what happens to us at each of the 4 stages of brainwave frequency. Floating subtly changes our body chemistry, creating profound benefit for an individual's emotional balance. Negative emotions such as anxiety and fear are replaced by positive feelings of empowerment, confidence, and well-being.
As a person floats, the brain waves slow down into theta frequencies, a state of tranquility, creativity and very deep relaxation. Theta waves, measured at 4-7 Hz, represent the brain in a state of REM sleep (dreams), hypnosis, or lucid dreaming. Theta is the twilight state just before sleeping and just after waking, the border between the conscious and the subconscious world. By learning to consciously use a conscious, waking Theta brain wave we can access and influence the powerful subconscious part of ourselves that is normally inaccessible to our waking minds. While in the Theta state, the mind is capable of deep and profound learning, healing, and personal growth.
|Wave||Frequency||Associated Mental State|
|Beta||12hz - 38hz||Wide awake. This is generally the mental state most people are in during the day and most of their waking lives. Usually, this state in itself is uneventful, but don't underestimate its importance. Many people lack sufficient Beta activity, which can cause mental or emotional disorders such as depression, ADD and insomnia. Stimulating Beta activity can improve emotional stability, energy levels, attentiveness and concentration.|
|Alpha||8hz - 12hz||
Awake but relaxed and not processing much information. When you get up in the morning and just before sleep, you are naturally in this state. When you close your eyes your brain automatically starts producing more Alpha waves.
Alpha is usually the goal of experienced meditators, but to enter it using NP2 is incredibly easy. Since Alpha is a very receptive, absorbent mental state, you can also use it for effective self-hypnosis, mental re-programming, accelerated learning and more.
|Theta||4hz - 7hz||
Light sleep or extreme relaxation.
Theta can also be used for hypnosis, accelerated learning and self-programming using pre-recorded suggestions.
|Delta||0.2hz - 3hz||Deep, dreamless sleep. Delta is the slowest band of brainwaves. When your dominant brainwave is Delta, your body is healing itself and "resetting" its internal clocks. You do not dream in this state and are completely unconscious.|
Pioneers in the development and study of floatation tank therapy
- John Lilly
- In 1954 neuro-scientist John Lilly, MD invented the first Sensory Deprivation tank, to access a range of higher brain functions, meditation & healing. Find out more about Dr. Lilly at http://www.johnclilly.com/
- Michael Hutchison
- Michael Hutchison wrote the very informative The Book of Floating. This link displays a chapter from his book Mega Brain.
Floatation Tanks in the media, Oh My!